Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”[a]

Fathers,[b] do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.  Ephesians 6:1-4

Children are called to obey and honor their parents.  But Father’s are called not to exasperate our children so that they become annoyed or embittered toward us.  There must be a balance when we are disciplining our children.  We are called to raise children in the knowledge of the Lord and we are called to hold them accountable.  We are not called to be their friend or their buddy.

One of the major issues facing our world and our culture are parents who desire to be their child’s friend instead of being their parent.  Or on the other end of the extreme we have parents who have become absent from the lives of their children.  It creates children who are filled with anger and rebellion because they have lacked the love they needed as a child and they have never come to respect those in positions of authority.

When disciplining any child we must explain to that child why they are being discipline.  Discipline should always be used as an opportunity to teach and not merely punish.  When we are disciplined by our Father in Heaven it is not meant for Him to pour out His wrath upon it.  He uses every opportunity when He disciplines us to teach us and refine us.

The same should hold true with our own children.  When disciplining any child it should always be done with balance and in love.  If we simply discipline or punish out of anger we do it from wrong motives and it will actually produce a negative effect.  But when discipline takes place from a place of love it would accomplish incredible purposes in the life of a child.

The problem and deception of our culture is they clamor against disciplining children.  They speak time and time again about positive reinforcement, but in the long run this is not effective and will actually backfire.  If we desire to truly raise children the way the Lord calls us to then we must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and not the wisdom of this world.  Yes there will be battles as a child grows and tries to push the boundaries.  But if we hold fast and hold children accountable it will produce within them character and maturity.

I am very thankful for the father I had growing up as a child.  He held me accountable for my actions and when need be gave me the belt.  He never struck me out of anger, but he taught me the importance of respect and obedience.  I thank God every day for the father and mother I had.  They not only raised me in the knowledge of who the Lord is, but they disciplined me in love when needed and it saved me from a road of destruction.

 

A father to the fatherless

“May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him. May you blow them away like smoke— as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God. But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”‭‭Psalm‬ ‭68:1-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God is our defender and our shepherd. He leads and guides us step by step. Through out this journey we will be challenged and we will face many different trials. But through it all the Lord leads us to victory. As we abide in Him our lives are used for His glory. 

There is a distinction between those who are children of God and those who are not. Only those who place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ are children of God. Those who reject God and His kingdom continue to live in sin and are seen as wicked. 

It seems at times in this world that the wicked prosper but the Lord is more concerned with our character and maturity. This requires that our faith be tested and this requires that we keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus and His kingdom. God will have His way and His will will be accomplished on the earth. May our eyes not be fixed upon those who live in wickedness. May our eyes be fixed upon Christ alone. 

Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness

The Lord performs [b]righteous deeds
And judgments for all who are oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the sons of Israel.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who [c]fear Him.
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who [d]fear Him.
14 For He Himself knows [e]our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.  Psalm 103:6-14

The Lord’s patients and kindness is far greater than we will understand.  One of the deceptions of the enemy is condemnation.  Satan will come to us deceiving us as the voice of God and try to get us to believe that God is angry with us.

There are times in our lives when our Father in Heaven will discipline us.  But His discipline is meant to teach us and bring us to a place of maturity.  It is not meant to destroy us or be cruel to us.  If our Father didn’t discipline us then His love for us would not be true and in the end we would truly destroy ourselves.

There is no one who can snatch us out of His hand.  He holds us close to His heart by His grace.  But if we choose to wander off and chase after the desires of this world, He will gently speak to us at first.  But if we continue in that which we shouldn’t then His discipline will become more severe.

His desire is that we would grow in maturity and intimacy with Him.  That as we grow in Him our hearts and minds become one with His and we truly become a vessel of His glory.  We become a vessel through which He can accomplish His plans and purposes.  His will is sovereign and He uses us, His sons and daughters to accomplish His plans and purposes upon the earth.  We should never despise the discipline of the Lord.  But we should embrace it and learn from it.  He disciplines us because He loves us.

The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice

24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice,
And he who sires a wise son will be glad in him.
25 Let your father and your mother be glad,
And let her rejoice who gave birth to you.  Proverbs 23:24-25

There is a great honor that exist in the heart of a parent who has raised a child committed to the Lord.  There have been different parents throughout the biblical account who have dedicated their children to the Lord.  Two of them are Samuel and John the Baptist.

Both were mighty prophets of the Lord and both brought great joy and honor to their parents.  A child who lives a life committed to the Lord not only honors their parents who live upon the earth, but bring great honor and joy to their Father in Heaven.

When our lives align with God and His purposes our lives are a living witness of the power and the grace of God.  We live in a wicked generation that continues to grow in wickedness by the day.  Those committed unto the Lord will shine as a bright light at this time in history.  Even though at times it may seem we are the only one who are living for the Lord and His ways, we are never alone.  In all that we do the Lord walks with us and prepares and designs our every step.  The Holy Spirit leads and guides us in all things.  May our lives be a living sacrifice unto the Lord on a daily basis in all things.

Therefore comfort one another with these words

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep [k]in Jesus.15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive [l]and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a [m]shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.17 Then we who are alive [n]and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

The apostle Paul was confronting the concerns of the believers in Thessalonica for believers who had died before the coming of the Lord for His church.  Because Jesus has died and rose again all of us who die upon this earth who have placed our faith and trust in Jesus Christ have our sins forgiven and therefore enter into God’s kingdom because of the sacrifice of Jesus.

But there is coming a day when the trumpet shall sound and the Lord shall descend from the Heavens and call His bride home.  The dead in Christ will proceed those who are alive at that time.  The last trumpet call can happen any day and we must live our lives on a daily basis as if the Lord is returning today.

We are to be busy about the work of our Father’s kingdom.  We are called to be witnesses to the utter ends of the earth and the Lord have given us the resources we need to see His plans and purposes fulfilled upon the earth.

We live in extraordinary times in which technology has made it possible to connect with believers all over the earth.  The bible is being translated into different languages at an unprecedented rate and going forth to the utter ends of the earth.

The last days began when Jesus ascended to the Father in Heaven, but we are drawing ever closer to the end of the church age.  As we look at the world around us we see nations being aligned to fulfill all of the prophecies that exist that will be fulfilled before Jesus establishes His kingdom.

The wickedness of man continues to increase upon the earth and we are truly living in days like Noah did in which the earth is being filled with violence and wickedness.  This world is not our home and because of the curse of sin and death the wickedness of man continues to increase.  As wickedness increases the love of most is growing cold.

This is an extraordinary hour and opportunity for the body of Christ.  May we be a house of prayer and understand the authority we have in the place of prayer.  As we become a house of prayer we shall become a house of His glory, power, and His might.  God desires to move greatly in our day and He is moving upon the hearts and minds of His sons and daughters to commit their lives unto prayer.  We live in awesome days, let us not fear the times we live in, but let us understand the honor and privilege we have at living in this hour of history.  May Jesus name be glorified and lifted up throughout the earth that all men would be drawn unto Him.

But our citizenship is in heaven

17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.  Philippians 3:17-21

We live in a world that is filled with two groups of people.  There are those who are lost and who seek after the desires and deceptions of Satan.  They don’t know they are lost but they truly believe they can fulfill the desires of their souls with the desires of this world.  In the end it simply leads to destruction.

On the other hand there is a group of people who have given their hearts and lives of Jesus Christ.  They are pursuing God and His kingdom and they are being transformed on a daily basis by the power and might of the Holy Spirit.  We who are in Christ are called to be witnesses on this earth to those who are lost through the power and might of the Holy Spirit.

We must always remember that our citizenship is in Heaven.  Our home is not this world and in this world we will have trial and we will have tribulation.  We will have pain and we will have heart ache.  But through it all the Lord’s grace is sufficient and His strength made perfect in our weakness.  May we daily pursue Jesus with our whole heart.  May our eyes be focused upon Christ alone.  In the midst of pain and suffering may we draw near to the Lord with our whole heart.

Lord, teach us to pray

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

He said to them, “When you pray, say:

“‘Father,[a]
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.[b]
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
    for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.[c]
And lead us not into temptation.[d]’”

Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread;a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity[e] he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[f] a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”  Luke 11:1-13

After Jesus had spent sometime praying one of the disciples ask the Lord to teach them how to pray.  Jesus life was built upon the place of prayer and everything He did was done through the power of the Holy Spirit alone.  It was prayer that unlocked the power of the Holy Spirit in His life.

The example He gives to the disciples begins with praise and worship to His Father in Heaven.  Then He simply asks for His needs to be met and that we should ask for our sins to be forgiven and that we would forgive those who have sinned against us.  That we would not be led into temptation.  This is a model prayer, but once we begin to make prayer a priority in our life we grow in our prayer life.  We begin to open our heart unto the Lord and the desires within us begin to change.  We no longer desire to pray for things that are self-centered.  Our prayers instead become kingdom centered seeing God’s will be done and His kingdom come.

Jesus then goes on to teach the disciples a very important principle of God’s kingdom when it comes to prayer.  The principle is perseverance in the place of prayer.  The example Jesus gives is someone who goes very late at night and asks for bread when everyone has already been locked up in the house and put to bed.  But Jesus teaches them the importance on continuing in the place of prayer and contending for an answer.  To ask, seek, and knock until the door is open.

The person asking for bread could have given up after the first request, but they continued on and were eventually answered.  Often times when we pray we cannot see all that is taking place in the spiritual realm.  But every time we go before the Lord in prayer things are happening and God is releasing His plans and His purposes.  We may find ourselves in a season where we have been faithful daily in prayer for a very long time and have not yet seen the answer.  We cannot give up hope, we must stand upon God’s word and His truth.  He will answer in His due time when we pray according to the Father’s will and in the name of Jesus.

Jesus ends this section by showing how even though we who are evil do give good gifts to our children.  If this indeed is the case how much more our Heavenly Father in Heaven who perfect and who is love will give us good gifts.  But where the struggle takes place in the place of prayer is that God’s timing and our timing is drastically different.  There is a very deep work that takes place in the heart and life of the believer as they are steadfast in the place of prayer and wait patiently upon the Lord.  The Lord will answer in His due time and the blessing He will pour out in our lives is far greater than we could even ask or imagine.  He has asked us to simply ask, seek, and knock.  Let us not make prayer more complicated than it is.  It is a place of deep intimacy with our Father in Heaven.

It is here that we are able to draw near with confidence because of the blood of Jesus.  It is here that we are able to pour out hearts out to our Father in Heaven.  Praying forth His will and praying that His justice and righteousness be poured out upon the earth.  That His grace and mercy would be poured out.  That His kingdom would come and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.  This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and not miss the opportunity we have to flood the throne of Heaven with our prayers.  It is at the prayers of God’s sons and daughters that the angels of Heaven are activated and the purposes and plans of God carried out.  If desire a deeper prayer life with the Lord simply ask Him to teach you how to pray.